Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A prince of a chief house among the Simeonites.—Better, of a father’s house, &c. It is probable that the tribe of Simeon was deeply implicated in the transgression, and that those who belonged to that tribe were the chief sufferers in the plague. (See Numbers 26:14, and Note.)Ephesians 2:14); and the covenant was thus to him a covenant not only of peace but of life (compare the marginal reference). Phinehas became highpriest after the death of his father Eleazar, and the office, with a short interruption from the days of Eli to those of David, when for unknown reasons it was filled by the descendants of his uncle Ithamar, was perpetuated in his line; nor indeed is it known to have departed from that line again until the typical priesthood of the sons of Aaron was merged in the actual priesthood of the Saviour of mankind. A prince: this is added as a proof of Phinehas’s zeal, that he durst venture upon so great a person, who was likely to have many avengers of his blood.
Of a chief house, Heb. of the house of his father. Every tribe was divided into great households, called the houses of their fathers, Numbers 1:2, and he was the prince or chief of one of these, though not of fire whole tribe.
Among the Simeonites; of the tribe of Simeon, which seems to have been too much influenced by his and other such examples, so that for 59,300, which were numbered, Numbers 1:22,23, there were now only 22,000 Numbers 26:14.
even that was slain with the Midianitish woman; who was slain also, both together with one thrust:
was Zimri, the son of Sela, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites; or a prince of his father's house, or family; there were five families of the Simeonites, and this man was a prince of one of them, see Numbers 26:12 though Josephus (h), and so the Samaritan Chronicle (i), make him to be a prince of the tribe of Simeon. His name is mentioned partly to the reproach of him, and partly for the honour of Phinehas, whose zeal and courage were such, that he feared not to take away the life of a person of such figure, authority, and interest among the people.Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 14. - Now the name of the Israelite. These details as to names seem to have been added as an after-thought, for they would naturally have been given in verse 11, where the man and the woman are first mentioned. The woman's name is given again in verse 18, as if for the first time. We may probably conclude that verses 14, 15 were inserted into the narrative either by the hand of Moses himself at a later date, or possibly by some subsequent hand. Zimri. This was not an uncommon name, but the individual who bears it here is not elsewhere mentioned. Numbers 25:13). The thought upon which this expression is founded is, that the punishment which was inflicted as a purifying chastisement served as a "covering" against the exterminating judgment (see Herzog's Cyclopaedia).
(Note: Upon this act of Phinehas, and the similar examples of Samuel (1 Samuel 15:33) and Mattathias (1 Macc. 2:24), the later Jews erected the so-called "zealot right," jus zelotarum, according to which any one, even though not qualified by his official position, possessed the right, in cases of any daring contempt of the theocratic institutions, or any daring violation of the honour of God, to proceed with vengeance against the criminals. (See Salden, otia theol. pp. 609ff., and Buddeus, de jure zelotarum apud Hebr. 1699, and in Oelrich's collect. T. i. Diss. 5.) The stoning of Stephen furnishes an example of this.)
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